Are you trying to move into a leadership role? Do you know that you have what it takes, but you’re still struggling to make that next step up the career ladder? Do you know how to become a manager?
We know the old saying, “Nothing worth having comes easy”. The same can be true when it comes to professional success – it takes drive, hard work and commitment to get there. If you’re willing to put in the effort, your goals are entirely achievable.
When it comes to management roles, a lot of professionals find it hard breaking into this competitive arena. Successful candidates tend to have skills or experience you feel you’ve never been given the opportunity to gain. It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a vicious cycle.
Wants management job > needs management experience > tries to get management job to get some experience > doesn’t have enough experience. Aaaargh!
Frustrating as it may be, no good will come of dwelling on how difficult and unjust this is; it’s time to do something about it! There are things you can do inside and outside of work to help you to develop and, just as importantly, evidence your leadership skills. That way, you’re in with more of a shot at getting that dream promotion and becoming a manager when the opportunity arises.
It’s not just established professionals that will benefit from driving their own development. For those of you who recently graduated or are new to the working world, if you want to become a manager in the future then seize every chance to gain new skills and knowledge. Whether or not you’re on a graduate or management scheme, you will always benefit from working on the qualities employers look for in a good manager.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about how to become a manager:
Do you know what it takes to be a good leader?
Yes, the question is a little vague and can encompass many different things. However, it’s good to have a solid fundamental understanding of what skills you need, which attributes you’ll need to demonstrate and what qualities will be required of you as a manager.
So, back to the question. There really are infinite answers depending on who you ask and the industry or business you work in but, on the whole, to be a good leader, you need to:
- Exude confidence
- Be good with people
- Communicate well at all levels
- Have a proactive approach
- Be knowledgeable
- Remain professional and enthusiastic
- Be able to make decisions and handle pressurised situations
Give yourself some constructive criticism
Take some time to reflect – and, no, we’re not talking about meditation. Learning about yourself as a professional is key to your development. To achieve your goal of reaching a management position, you’ll need to get brutally honest with yourself. Are you cut out for management? What are your professional strengths and weaknesses? How do you match up against the requirements of a leadership role? What do you need to improve to meet the mark?
Once you know where your areas for improvement are, you’ll know exactly where to start when it comes to development. You can also work on a plan that will let you turn your weaknesses into strengths, and remember to document everything so you can showcase all your hard work!
Exit the comfort zone
Stagnate (v): cease developing; become inactive or dull.
The comfort zone is so called because that’s where we feel safe; it’s familiar, it’s easy. As tempting as it is to keep paddling in the shallow water, if you want to succeed, it’s best to jump in at the deep end. At work, have a discussion with your manager or other successful co-workers who are in leadership positions to see if there’s anything you can add to your responsibilities to help you develop. Make sure that you’re keen to volunteer to take part in any projects or to get involved in many things outside of your daily duties.
This way you can build your skills, improve your working relationships and show your employer just how serious you are about your development towards leadership.
It doesn’t stop at the office
Activities you’re involved in outside of the workplace can also give you valuable skills and experience that you can transfer into your professional life.
Do you coach a sports team? Are you the head of a club or a society? Do you ever arrange or run events? If you do, the skills you demonstrate during these activities are great evidence of your leadership ability. Get as involved as you can.
If you’re not involved in anything like this, maybe it’s time to try something new; never miss an opportunity to improve your people skills and develop your management skills. Plus, the added bonus of doing something you enjoy and meeting new people will really make it worth your while.
The path to leadership is a bumpy one, but if you put in the work and push yourself, you’ll soon reap the benefits. Keep at it, you’ll get there in the end! Following these hints on how to become a manager will make sure that you’re ready and prepared when you get that promotion.